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HealtH & safety

Ri easy sk assessments


TheHealthandSafetyExecutiveprovidesasimple five-stepapproachtohelpyouassesshealthand safety risks inyourblock

All blocks of flAts areobliged by lawtocarryoutariskassessment of commonpartsunder theManaging Health&SafetyatWorkRegulations 1999.AccordingtotheHSE, “thelawdoes not expect youto eliminate all risk, but youare required to protectpeopleasfar as is ‘reasonably practicable’”. Theaimofarisk assessment isnot to causeendless streams ofpaperwork but toensure thatanyoneworkingonor aroundthecommonparts of your block cando so safely. It isaway of identifying what,ifanythingcouldcauseharmto peopleanddetailingwhat canbe done to prevent it.Itshouldbe simpleandstraightforward andmaynotneed to be produced byanexternal consultant if youlive ina small block.

Asaresult, theHSEhas producedaguidewhich youcandownload fromits

help youputariskassessmenttogether “withminimumfuss”.

TheHSErecommends thefollowing simple steps:


nDecidewhomight beharmedandhow nEvaluatetherisksanddecideon precaution

nRecord your findingsandimplement them

nReviewyour assessmentandupdateif necessary

If youareresponsible forasmall

blockandyouare confident that you understandwhat’s involved, youcando


Whenthinkingabout your risk assessment,thekeypoints to remember are:

nahazardisanythingthatmay causeharm,suchaschemicals, electricity,workingfrom ladders,anopendrawer, etc;and

nthe riskis the chance, high or low, thatsomebodycould beharmedbytheseandother hazards,togetherwithan indicationofhowseriousthe harmcouldbe.


sofa-beds, cushions,pillowsandcovers. Items whichcomplywillhave a suitable permanent label attached.Non-compliant itemsmustbemovedout

of thebuildingbefore a tenancybegins. sMokEAlARMsHaving an alarmis one thing –but is it inworkingorder?All properties built since June 1992must have beenfitted with a mainspoweredsmokedetectoralarmsystem. Although thereisnolegislation requiringsmoke alarmsto be fitted in tenanted properties built before that date,landlordsought to beawareof a common law‘duty of care’ rendering landlords andtheir agents liable,inthe eventthatafire causes injury or damage in atenantedproperty wheresmoke alarmsarenot fitted.Wewould always recommend that a landlord fits at least one smoke alarmon each floor – preferably in the hall and/or landing areas.

Let property If your property extends over three or more levels,and is lettofive or moretenants fromtwo or more families, there is more health and safety paperworktoconsiderasitwillbesubject to a mandatorylicensing assessmentfrom thelocal

HSE has produced a guidewhich you can download fromits website

theassessment yourself. Youdon’thave to beahealthandsafety expert.

First, download thehealth&safety

template.Thisbringstogetheryour risk assessment,healthandsafety policy,andrecord ofhealthandsafety arrangements into one document to help youget startedandsave time. If youalreadyhaveahealthandsafety policy, youcanchoose to usejust therisk assessmentpart of thetemplate.There areafewexamplesontheHSEwebsite that showyouwhatarisk assessment looks like so youcanchoose theone that looksmost relevant to your blockanduse it asaguide. If youareresponsible formanaging

alargeblockandyouarenot confident that youcanproducearisk assessment yourself, thereareplenty ofhealth& safety consultantswhocanhelp you.As ever, shop aroundandtake advice from otherswhomayhavebeendownthe sameroute. Talk to at leasttwoor three differentcompanies before appointing someoneto carryout your assessment onyour behalfandmake sure youcheck theirreferences. Formore informationonrisk

assessmentsandto download theleaflet FiveSteps to RiskAssessment, go towww.

couldleadtoincreased claimswhichinsurers arenot able to defend

authority.Whethermandatorylicensingunder theseguidelinesapplies or not, if thereare three or moretenants notall relatedinany property, thechances areitwillstill be treatedasaHouse inMultiple Occupancy(HMO),and special management rules will apply.

Insurance ImpLIcatIons Owners of residentialblockswhohavemade every efforttocomplywithall of theserequirements shouldmake this clearwhentakingout insurance. If a blockhas everythingin placeandhealthand safety is reviewed regularly,owners should tell insurers as this informationwillresultinthem gettingthemost competitivetermsavailable. It is fair to saythatthese goodmanagement practices should result in consistently lowclaims,enabling insurers tomaintaintheir best rates for clients. Ontheflipside,lackofhealthandsafety

procedures couldleadtoincreased claims,which insurers arenot able to defend, becauseofalackof documentedevidencewhich,inturn, couldresult in increasedpremiums. Themajorityofinsurance providersmakeit

clear these days to their policyholders that they must beaware of, and complywith, current legislation–includingthe ever-changinghealth andsafetylaws.This couldproduce situations wherepolicyconditions arebreached. It is vital, therefore, that policyholdersunderstandwhat their policies contain, andwhat their insurers expect of them.●

AnthonyHughesis a Director of Blockinsure tel 0845 390 3030 email

Spring2012 Flat Living

lack of health and safety procedures

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